Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 10/28

Game 1: Tuesday, October 28th
Trail Blazers76Final
Lakers96
Game 2: Sunday, January 4th
Trail Blazers86Final
Lakers100
Game 3: Monday, March 9th
Lakers94Final
Trail Blazers111
Game 4: Friday, April 10th
Lakers98Final
Trail Blazers106

Lakers 94

(50-13, 21-9 away)

Trail Blazers 111

(40-23, 27-5 home)

Coverage: CSNW

10:00 PM ET, March 9, 2009

Moda Center, Portland, OR

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 16 22 18 3894
POR 25 36 23 27111

Top Performers

Los Angeles: P. Gasol 18 Pts, 13 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Portland: B. Roy 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

Lakers-Trail Blazers Preview

STATS LLC

After breaking out of their mini-slump with a couple of easy home victories over lesser opponents, the schedule is about to get much tougher for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers open a three-game road trip Monday night, looking to avoid losing their seventh straight game in Portland against a Trail Blazers team seeking its 12th consecutive victory at the Rose Garden.

Los Angeles (50-12) owns the league's best record and has built an eight-game lead atop the Western Conference, but looked rather ordinary a week ago after losses at Denver and Phoenix.

The Lakers bounced back Tuesday with a 99-89 win over Memphis, and became the first team to reach 50 victories with Friday's 110-90 win over Minnesota.

"First to 50 is important in establishing dominance," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "We have 20 games left and we'd like to be the first to 60."

The next 10 wins won't be easy.

The Lakers play 10 of their next 13 games on the road, including visits to red-hot Houston on Wednesday and Southwest Division-leading San Antonio on Thursday. First, Los Angeles travels to Portland (39-23), where it hasn't won since Feb. 23, 2005.

Though the Lakers won the first two meetings of this season series at home, they have lost six straight games and 12 of their last 14 at the Rose Garden.

They aren't the only team that has trouble in Portland. Owners of the league's third-best home record (26-5), the Blazers have won 11 straight at the Rose Garden since a 104-98 loss to Cleveland on Jan. 21. They have not won 12 in a row at home since Dec. 6-Jan. 9 last season.

Portland, though, barely defeated Minnesota 95-93 at home on Saturday. The Blazers, who trail Utah by one-half game in the Northwest Division, played poorly -- never leading by more than six points -- and the Timberwolves pulled within one with 10.6 seconds remaining.

"I think we kind of overlooked them a little bit, and guys were getting ready for the Lakers," said Brandon Roy, who scored a game-high 31 points while shooting 13 of 19.

Roy, who is averaging 28.3 points and shooting 61.8 percent in three home games this month, scored just 14 in Portland's 96-76 loss to the Lakers in both teams' season opener on Oct. 28. He missed the second meeting, a 100-86 Blazers loss on Jan. 4, with a strained right hamstring.

While Kobe Bryant's team hasn't had any success in Portland lately, the 11-time All-Star is averaging 35.3 points during the Lakers' losing streak there.

Bryant should be well rested for this game after playing only three quarters of Friday's victory. He finished with 23 points.

The Lakers' second unit played the final period against the Timberwolves, giving the starters some needed rest heading into this difficult stretch.

"We did what we were supposed to do," said starting center Pau Gasol, who had 21 points and nine rebounds. "We took care of the game. It was a pretty complete game. If we continue to improve and feel good about ourselves, that's the main point."

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